PCI has been working in Haiti since 2010, helping communities with long-term rebuilding and redevelopment needs following the catastrophic earthquake that struck the island nation in January 2010.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has some of the worst health outcomes in the world. Haiti’s challenges were exacerbated by the worst earthquake to hit the region in 200 years, which struck in January 2010 and leveled the country’s infrastructure and claimed more than 220,000 lives. The global community rallied to provide emergency assistance, yet the need for long-term, sustainable development remains. In Haiti, 80% of the population lives under the poverty line, with 55% subsisting on less than $1.25 per day. Two years after the quake, water access in Port-au-Prince worsened, declining from 60% to 40% over 6 months.
PCI has built a strong reputation for evidence-based, community-led health, development and integrated emergency response programs in Haiti. Specifically, PCI has worked in some of poorest and most densely populated areas in Port-au-Prince, namely Ravine Pintade, Nazon, Fort National, Croix Deprez, Belair, and Carrefoure Feuilles to meet immediate emergency assistance and long-term rebuilding and redevelopment needs in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. Programmatic expertise in Haiti includes health system strengthening; community mobilization; water and sanitation; care and support of vulnerable children and youth; economic and livelihood strengthening; women’s empowerment and prevention of gender-based violence; integrated neighborhood-based reconstruction; and capacity building of local organizations. PCI ensures long-term sustainability by enabling communities to take an active role in the planning and development of programs.
From Rubble to Renaissance
The 2010 earthquake displaced an estimated 1.5 million people, and hundreds of thousands were relocated to large camps. PCI’s interventions supported families to stay in their neighborhoods and pioneer integrated approaches to neighborhood reconstruction. As a result, PCI and its partner CHF International funded by USAID, transformed a downtown area of Port-au-Prince that was 70% destroyed into a safer, healthier and more nurturing neighborhood. KATYE, which means “neighborhood” in Haitian Creole, provided an innovative approach to urban disaster that combined emergency assistance with collaborative and long-term planning to meet immediate needs while also laying a foundation for long-term stability and economic growth. Ravine Pintade was transformed from an informal neighborhood to a more formal entity, with committees for self-governance linked with municipal authorities, to ensure provision of services and maintenance of infrastructure.
KATYE established replicable strategies for increasing the efficiency of rubble clearing; generating shelter solutions for densely populated areas; facilitating land parcel assessment and a community approach to neighborhood planning to ‘build back better’; creating strategies to address risk mitigation issues associated with seismic activity, flooding, fire, wind and rubble; developing and implementing a rain water harvesting design specific to Port-au-Prince; and supporting local communities and institutions to re-establish water and sanitation services. Protection and health activities were included in all aspects of the project.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Access to cost-effective and sustainable water and sanitation services is essential to helping communities prevent disease and to improve economic, environmental, and social outcomes. PCI’s WASH approach leverages existing community structures, committees and organizations and builds their capacity to improve water access, including training on water treatment and testing to ensure purity. Community leaders/committees help identify appropriate locations for latrines, water points, and wastebaskets and also ensure maintenance of these systems. The most exciting aspect is that these community-led efforts result in a sustainable water system.
Under KATYE, rain water catchment systems were installed on all transitional shelters constructed, and five 3,000 gallon water points, sanitation systems utilizing flush toilets feeding into 1,000 gallon septic tanks were constructed. PCI methodologies created a demand for potable water and lead to improved storage, treatment and hygiene practices ensuring near universal access to safe drinking water in the target area. Today, average daily water usage in the target community is 17.24L per person, a 182% increase from the baseline usage of 6.1L per person per day. The percent of household water supply with 0 coliform bacteria per 100ml rose from 61% to 99% during the KATYE project. Through implementation of evidence-based water and hygiene education the water quality has been sustained as administration, distribution, water quality assurance and maintenance has been transferred to community committees.
Evidence-Based Approaches & Engaging Youth
Strong documentation is fundamental to PCI’s work. To evaluate the impact of the KATYE model of neighborhood recovery and engage youth in rebuilding their communities, PCI conducted a final assessment that used youth to help collect the data, and used a simple random sample methodology to assess changes over time (relative to baseline), and compared to a control population (relative to a population with no assistance, Fort National). The results suggest significant improvements to access and quality of water, hygiene and sanitation behaviors, child protection, and indicate the important developing community structures for problem solving.
Recent Program Highlights
By training the community on appropriate water treatment and storage, PCI helped improve the water quality in the KATYE catchment area. Today, 99% of households have safe drinking water (measured by absence of coliform bacteria), an increase from 61% at the beginning of the project.
The KATYE project has vastly improved hygiene practices in the community, with 99% of individuals now washing their hands before eating and after using the bathroom. This has contributed to success in cholera prevention, as zero cases originated within the KATYE area during the 2011 cholera outbreak.
In January 2010, Haiti was changed forever by a [...]
Haiti was thrust into the international spotlight five years ago [...]